By Polly Keary, Editor
The next two months will bring colored leaves, corn stalks, cooling days and crisp nights.
But summer’s end doesn’t mean an end to fun things to do with family and friends.
Here are a few activities for fall that can get the family outdoors to enjoy the changing season, or can put one under a roof to enjoy Oktoberfest with a brew or a bratwurst at the fairgrounds.
Festival of Pumpkins
Each year, six east Snohomish County family farms join forces to produce the Festival of Pumpkins. For $100, you can get a season pass to get your family onto all six farms through October.
Or take advantage of an early bird special: $20 gets your family onto the farms all day the last weekend of September and the first weekend of October.
Here are the farms, as well as the activities each includes with the family pass.
To just visit one farm, check the websites; some will open in the next couple of weeks, others at the end of the month, and the maze at Bob’s Corn opened last weekend! Each of the farms offer far more than the activities listed in the list below.
Bailey Vegetables & Pumpkin Patch
12711 Springhetti Rd., Snohomish
www.baileyveg.com (360) 568-8826
Find a pumpkin, a play barn, corn maze and whiffle ball field, as well as u-pick veggies.
Bob’s Corn & Pumpkin Patch
10917 Elliot Rd., Snohomish
www.bobscorn.com (360) 668-2506
Find a night maze or daytime maze, pumpkins and cow train rides.
Carleton Farm Produce
630 Sunnyside Blvd. S.E., Lake Stevens
Find a trivia corn maze, kids’ train rides and a pumpkin cannon.
13817 Short School Rd., Snohomish
www.cravenfarm.com (360) 568-2601
Find a corn maze, a pumpkin slinger and a hay ride.
Stocker Corn Maze & Pumpkin Park
8705 Marsh Rd., Snohomish
www.stockerfarms.com (360) 568-7391
Find a corn maze, pumpkin park and pumpkin patch.
The Farm at Swan’s Trail
7302 Rivershore Rd., Snohomish,
www.thefarm1.com (425) 334-4124
Look for a corn maze, children’s play area and putting course.
Local authors give readings from books about lives in opera, Broadway at Main Street Books
Two of Index’s most interesting residents have each written regarding their lifelong careers in show business, and the pair will read from those books at Main Street Books on Sept. 21 at 6 p.m.
Adventures in the Scream Trade: Scenes from an Operatic Life
Charles Long spent more than 20 years in the opera world, much of it in the highest strata, where the baritone sang among some of opera’s greatest stars. The book is a collection of vignettes from that life, ranging from childhood anecdotes to accounts of his struggles with fortune in the industry.
Long also is an ardent Libertarian and has been quite politically active throughout his career, as well as being a college music teacher and professional sports writer who specializes in boxing.
His book has been reviewed favorably by national publications.
“Long’s book surprised me by its earthiness and honesty … He spares no one in his narrative, least of all himself … [His] tone is downright irreverent, but it’s beautifully written and easy to read; even the musical terminology is transparent,” write Tom Glenn of the Washington Independent Review of Books.
Jewish Thighs on Broadway: Adventures of a Little Trouper
Penny Orloff lived her whole life in theater, and this work of fiction is based on that experience.
“This novel, though a work of fiction, is largely based upon my own misadventures in showbiz,” she wrote. “Several of the stranger characters are composites with elements of the creatures I met while I inhabited the fantasy realm of that addictive environment.”
The book follows the adventures of Abigail Paine, born Miriam Rosen, who has dreamed of stardom since she was a girl. Details are her oddball family, a series of lovers, a cast of quirky characters and all too many auditions.
Orloff was already working as an actress and dancer when a Julliard scholarship brought her to New York, where she worked in theater for the next 50 years. She starred in more than 100 productions, and the novel from which she will read was actually published in the 2000. That novel, “Jewish Thighs on Broadway,” became a one-woman show that toured for the next 10 years, including a turn off-Broadway.
Orloff and Long met in New York on the set of the opera “Carmen.”
Oktoberfest brings family fun to fairgrounds
Monroe is to be host to a new and large Oktoberfest, patterned on the massive annual festival held in Munich in Germany.
In Munich, the 16-day festival is the world’s largest fair, and dates back to 1810 when it was first held to celebrate the wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig. It began as a largely agricultural event, with carnival booths, dancing and beer becoming more important as the years went.
The event will be held at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds, and produced by the same company that created “Bite of Seattle” and “Taste of Tacoma.”
For the last eight years, the event has been a success at the fairgrounds in Puyallup, so this year, the organizers decided to grow the festival.
The event will include activities for all ages, and will take place in the Gary D. Weikel Events Center on the fairgrounds from Friday, Sept. 20 through Sunday, Sept. 22.
The three-day festival will include a lot of music ranging from traditional Bavarian music to modern rock. The most colorful of the acts will likely be Manuela Horn, said Cindy Stohr, with Festivals, Inc., the creator of the festival.
“She’s been on America’s Got Talent and she has been in Teatro Zinzanni, and she’s like 6’8″ in heels. She definitely makes the party,” said Stohr. “Kids love her and she responds to them so well. She does her set and then she walks around the grounds.”
Food will include pretzels, bratwurst, schnitzel, piroshki and, of course, plenty of good German beer; although the kids will have to make do with the more American root beer float.
Kids will also get to decorate pumpkins, get their faces painted for free, and participate with their families in a 5K Stein Dash, in which participants Sunday will run a five-kilometer course through the fairgrounds, and at the finish line will receive a stein filled with the age-appropriate beverage of their choice.
Among the more esoteric of the games that people of all ages can play is hammerschlagen, the “hammer-striking” game, in which people compete to drive a nail into a stump with the pointed end of a hammer.
“When you explain it, it sounds silly, but it’s ridiculously popular,” said Stohr. “We have blue collar construction workers getting beat by kids. You get guys saying, ‘I work construction and can’t believe I can’t hit this stupid nail.’”
One of the most important traditions of Oktoberfest is the “Tapping of the Firkin.” A firkin is an old-fashioned wooden keg of beer, and in Munich, the annual festival begins with a 12-gun salute and the tapping of the first keg of beer. The mayor performs the deed, upon which all cry “Ozapft ist!” or “It’s tapped!”
“With this event, we try to do it authentically with good German food and German beer,” said Stohr.
The event is sponsored in large part by Alaska Airlines. Stohr said the promoters expect 5,000-7,000 people the first year, but that it will grow in following years.
To learn more, visit http://www.oktoberfestmonroe.com/